Springtime in the Canadian Rockies
From the hustle and bustle of Chicago, Seattle and Vancouver to the absolute serenity of the Canadian Rockies, this round-trip tour offers a look at springtime in some of North America’s most enticing destinations.
All aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder for a journey from Chicago to Seattle, and then across the border into Canada, where Vancouver, Jasper and Banff await your exploration. As you begin your travels in Chicago, you will have some time to see the local sites before boarding the Empire Builder for two overnights en route to the West Coast. Puget Sound and the Space Needle come into view as the train arrives in Seattle. A sightseeing tour gives you a glimpse at the city’s best sites before you cross the border into Vancouver, Canada by coach. In Vancouver, you will enjoy a guided tour of the city and a visit to the beloved aquarium. It is also in Vancouver that you board VIA Rail’s Canadian for a trip through the ever-changing Canadian landscape and into the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains to Jasper. You will visit Icefield Parkway, Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Falls before moving on to Banff. With picturesque views at every turn and plenty of outdoor activities to occupy your time in this mountain village, there are no shortage of things to experience during your guided tour and leisure time. Once your motorcoach crosses back into the United States, you again board the Empire Builder for one more overnight journey - this time to Chicago - to round out this unforgettable train tour.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Round-trip transportation by rail from Chicago
- Reclining coach seat with leg rest on Amtrak trains for 3 nights
- Travel on VIA Rail in a cabin for one night
- First-class hotel accommodations for 4 nights
- 8 meals
- Extensive sightseeing including admissions to the Sulphur Mountain Gondola
- Icefields Parkway
- Columbia Icefield
- Athabasca Falls
- Baggage handling, taxes & tips
- Services of a professional Tour Director
Day 1 - Depart Chicago
Tour members will meet the Tour Director in Chicago's Union Station. The Willis Tower, one of the world's tallest buildings, is close by. Other Chicago attractions are a cab ride away. This afternoon we will board Amtrak's Empire Builder for a 2:15 p.m. departure. Our 2,200-mile journey will take us across seven states to Seattle, WA. Relax in your comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes or Bedrooms may be available at an additional cost and include dining car meals. Go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for spectacular viewing. This evening you can enjoy an optional full-course dinner in the dining car; lighter fare is available in the lounge car.
Day 2 - En Route
During the day we will roll across the remote lands of North Dakota and eastern Montana. This evening a dramatic panorama of Rocky Mountain peaks will begin to rise above the horizon becoming increasingly dynamic as we approach Glacier National Park. The scenery is striking as we wind past waterfalls, river gorges, and other sights. The glass-walled lounge provides an excellent vantage point.
Day 3 - En Route - Seattle
You may want to rise early to watch the sun come up over some spectacular scenery. This morning the Empire Builder will enter the 7.8-mile long Cascade Tunnel. Over the next two hours, we'll wind through the scenic Cascade Mountains and then through the lush Puget Sound area and ease into Seattle late morning. We will set out on a sightseeing tour of Seattle. The tour will include Chinatown, concrete floating bridges, Lake Washington and the University of Washington. You will have time for an "on-your-own" lunch at the famous Pike Place Market.
Following lunch, we'll board our motorcoach and head north to Vancouver. Upon arrival, we will check into the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, our home tonight. The hotel is convenient to many of this great city's major attractions. We’ll enjoy an included dinner at The Keg Steakhouse. (D)
Day 4 - Vancouver
This morning we will board our motorcoach and embark on a sightseeing tour of the city. The tour will include Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, English Bay, Marine Drive, the waterfront and Queen Elizabeth Park.
We’ll transfer to the VIA Rail Station to prepare for our noon departure to Jasper. We’re about to embark on one of the world’s greatest passenger rail experiences . . . The Canadian! All meals aboard The Canadian are included in the elegant, art deco dining car. (L, D)
Day 5 - En Route
We’ll arrive in Jasper at 8:00 a.m. and transfer across the street to the conveniently located Whistlers Inn. We will take a unique ride up the side of Whistler Mountain on the Jasper Sky Tram. The tram is the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada. We will return to our hotel. The hotel is located in the heart of Jasper, close to shops and restaurants. (B)
Day 6 - Icefields Parkway - Banff
Today you will experience the Icefields Parkway. North America's most scenic highway. Called by many as the most spectacular journey in the world, the Icefields Parkway offers one of Canada's national treasures and most rewarding destinations. The highway stretches 144 miles through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Have your camera and binoculars handy! We'll visit the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Falls. A ride out onto the Athabasca Glacier in a specialized Snocoach will be a highlight of the tour! A box lunch is served en route. Another high point will be the visit to Lake Louise and its famous Chateau. The setting is one of the most picturesque in the Rockies. We will arrive in Banff late this afternoon. Our home for the night will be the conveniently located Banff Aspen Lodge. (L)
Day 7 - Banff
Following breakfast in our hotel, we will embark on a Discover Banff Tour. The highlight of the tour will be the gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain for a spectacular view. We will board our motorcoach and continue to Lethbridge. An "on-your-own" lunch stop will be made en-route. Upon arrival, we will check into the Hampton Inn & Suites Alberta. The Tour Director will host a Farewell Dinner tonight. (B, D)
Day 8 - The Empire Builder
Following breakfast in our hotel, we will board our motorcoach for Shelby, MT. We'll board Amtrak's Empire Builder for the 11:33 a.m. departure for Chicago. You'll enjoy the same accommodations you had on your westbound trip. Once you're settled in, you'll want to head for the Sightseer Lounge car. The rest of the day we'll cross the remote flatlands of eastern Montana and western North Dakota. (B)
Day 9 - En Route to Chicago
The Empire Builder is scheduled to arrive in Chicago's Union Station at 3:55 p.m. Many of our tour members will conclude their vacation by transferring to Amtrak trains bound for home cities. Some will spend the night in Chicago and return home by air tomorrow.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotels include the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Whistler's Inn, Banff Aspen Lodge, and Hampton Inn & Suites Alberta. Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach, Roomette and Bedroom. Roomette accommodations include a private cabin that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts to an upper and lower berth at night. Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower. Upgrades to Roomette and Bedroom sleeping accommodations are available for an additional fee.
Dates & Prices
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